Friday 14th of June 2024

You Can't Have A War Without A Hero

 As the Australian Prime Minister's opinion polls sag from the mud of a
bribery scandal, a flag-draped Australian hero is brought home to be
honoured on our annual day of war remembrance.....

It was bad luck that I was re-watching "Wag The Dog" while reading
about the death of the Aussie sniper... maybe otherwise I wouldn't have
been feeling so cynical. For those who don't know the movie, it's about
the media staging of a war to save the US President's election
campaign. Anyway, I was listening to Dustin Hoffman uttering the words
in the title as my eyes fell on this Melbourne Herald-Sun paragraph:

He died in a US Army combat surgical hospital where he was surrounded
by his mates, who draped his body in an Australian flag and with a
paratrooper's beret on his chest as they said The Lord's Prayer.


same scriptwriter who brought you The Doug Wood story is at it again.
This time he's hailing someone as a hero for having the job of shooting
Iraqis to protect Australian bigwigs in Baghdad, writing media releases
for Murdoch newsprint.

The level of pageantry already spinning
into the media to emphasis the accidental nature of Private Kovco's
death belies a fear within the Australian government.... a similar fear
to that of the Bush Administration when they forbade pictures of
flag-draped coffins of dead US soldiers returning from Iraq.

psychological force being applied to prove the point suggests how
afraid the Australian Government is of dead Aussie soldiers. Somewhere
in a spin-surgery there's an opinion poll that says that Australians
would want to withdraw from the War if our countrymen die fighting for
Bush. Otherwise, why bother with all this effort?

If I wasn't
suspicious enough already, the conclusion of the Herald-Sun story with
a mention of ABC cameraman Paul Moran brought a flash of deja vu. 
Moran, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq three years ago, was
hailed in his hometown newspaper as local-boy-made-goood CIA
operative.  According to former AP correspondent  Christopher Allbritton
   "Moran only filed to two stories for the ABC, both on the naval
blockade of Iraq.  The rest of the time he was allegedly attempting to
generate an uprising against Saddam Hussein.  From what I've seen (this blog is not to be missed
I believe that one of Moran's last jobs was to promote the existence of
WMD's in Iraq, providing through his camera the "evidence" that Bush
needed to invade.   As one of only two journalists in the world to
interview the Iraqi dissident who claimed involvment in Saddam's
construction of WMD-creation bunkers, Moran showed the "picture" that
"justified" the invasion.

Turning back to the weekend's sad news of an Aussie weapons expert
accidentally killing himself, why are my instincts screaming cover-up? 
Right now I'd like to see a report of the Iraqi people who Private
Kovco, in his capacity as Guardian Angel Of Baghdad, took careful aim
at and ended their lives.

This story may not be that of an accidental death of a saint.   To some
it may already appear to be one of a hired murderer encountering
karma.    To others it may be reminiscent of Wag The Dog.   However the
story has all the hallmarks of a propaganda invention, and therefore
needs to be looked at with suspicious eyes.

Through the 'scope

Perhaps he saw one too many Iraqi kids' heads explode in pink mist.

Anyhow, at least Jon Faine (ABC Radio Melbourne) is asking why and how, and is going to have a firearms expert on soon.

TG What did the firearms

TG What did the firearms fellow have to say?  I thought it very quick of the Australian to cover the angle of weapon cleaning so thoroughly.  I still can't quite picture somebody dismantling a rifle without taking the bullets out... a pistol, maybe.  Can't help wondering how somebody so highly trained died so stupidly.

You were quick on the Doug Wood story... this one, to me, has the same "flavour"

June 6 is only six weeks away.

the ghost from flanders field .....


Adapted from
a poem by Douglas Walker

I had a dream the other night, I’d like you to understand,
A figure walking through the
mist, with 303 in hand.
His clothes were torn and dirty, as he stood there by my bed,
He took off his slouch hat, and
speaking low he said: 

We fought at Gallopoli other horrific places to secure liberty,
We valued our Federation as a shield from tyranny
For future generations, this legacy we
, to this Australia, the land of the free and home of the

The freedom we secured for you, we hoped you'd always keep,
But tyrants laboured endlessly while your parents were asleep.
Your freedom gone -your courage lost
-you're no more than a slave,
In this Australia, the land of the free and the home of the brave

You buy permits for everything, permits to own a gun,
Permits to start a business, or to build a place for
On land that you believe you own, you
pay a yearly rent
Although you have no voice in
choosing how the money's spent.

Your children must attend a school that doesn't educate,
Your moral values can't be taught, according to the state.
You read about the current news, in a
very biased press
You pay a tax you do not owe, to
please the parliament.

Your money is no longer made, of silver or of gold,
You trade your wealth for paper
, so your life can be

You pay for crimes that make our Nation turn from God to shame,
You've taken Satan's number, as
you've traded in your name.

You've given total control, to those who do you harm,
So they can destroy your place of work, and steal the family farm.
And keep our country deep in debt,
and put good men in jail,
Harass your fellow countryman, while corrupted courts prevail. 

Your public servants don't uphold the solemn oath they're sworn,
Your daughters visit doctors so children won't be born.
Your leaders ship men and guns to foreign shores,
and send your sons to slaughter, fighting other people's wars.  

Can you regain your Freedom, for
which we fought and died?
Or don't you have the courage, or the faith to stand with pride?

Are there no real values for which
you'll fight to save?
Or do you wish your children, live in fear and be as slaves?

Sons and daughters of Australia, arise and take a stand!
Demand a fresh constitution
, as the Supreme Law of the

Preserve our Federation and each God-given right!
And pray to God to keep the torch of freedom burning bright! 

As I awoke he vanished, in the
mist from whence he came,
His words were true, we are not free, and we have ourselves to blame.

For even now as tyrants trample on
each God-given right
We only watch and tremble - too afraid to stand and fight. 

If this Aussie stood by your
bedside, in a dream while you're asleep,
And wondered what remained of
your rights he fought to keep.

What would your answer be, if he
called you from the grave asking,

is this still the land of the free and home of the brave?

Courtesy of Joe Bryant 

amerika's forgotten war .....

‘In the aftermath of the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush declared that the
United States would launch a "War on Terrorism." In early October,
U.S. airplanes began bombing Afghanistan and providing assistance to the
Northern Alliance and other groups opposed to the Taliban regime. Within a few
months, U.S. troops and their Afghan allies had succeeded in ousting the
Taliban and installing a new regime. Although Osama bin Laden and his top
lieutenants apparently escaped, U.S. officials proclaimed that a significant
blow had been dealt to the al-Qa'ida network.

Traumatized and outraged by the horrific events of September 11, the majority
of Americans supported the war in Afghanistan. Most people believed the U.S.
Commander-in-Chief when he said that the replacement of the Taliban regime was
required to safeguard our country against another catastrophic attack by
al-Qa'ida forces. Even Princeton Professor Richard Falk, a long-time anti-war
activist, wrote in The Nation ("Defining a Just War," Oct. 29, 2001)
that the war in Afghanistan was "the first truly just war since World War
II." But was it? 

Since last October, thousands of
people have participated in anti-war rallies, marches, and teach-ins in New York
City, Washington, San Francisco, Houston, and other cities. People opposed to
the war have made clear that they condemn the atrocity of September 11. But
they also condemn the U.S. role in the deaths of thousands of Afghan people who
had nothing to do with the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.’ 

US War In Afghanistan

Immediate incapacitation

I listened to pretty much all of Jon Faine, and although he did ask the same questions shortly after 11am, I don't think he had anyone to explain the details of firearm discipline. My colleague suggested there may have been legal sensitivity about pushing it further. Nah. More like not wanting to spoil the Anzac Day myth.

Four Corners ran a BBC Panorama special on the Jean de Menezes shooting.

And this is good for reference - DEA Agent In Foot Shoot Suit.

Lost luggage

So, it wasn't Cry-baby Nelson orchestrating the pantomime (Fury at 'terrible' body bungle), but the PM. Otherwise, why would he bother raising the PM in the dead of night, because the widow was upset? Wouldn't a true leader relish the opportunity to take the responsibility for the cock-up? Especially when the situation has been hyped and twanged out of all proportion, for banal political purposes.

How many more of the ADF's core duties been sloughed off to private contractors?

Another private investigation will follow, no doubt, for Nelson and Howard to hide behind.

Bodybagdhad Airlines

Up to now I have refrained to comment on the death of private Kovco's death in deference to his family but the latest incident of Bodybaghdad Airlines is too much...

Already there are unanswered questions in regard to "cleaning one's gun in one's bedroom with other fellow soldiers around who could also have been hurt", or the manual for cleaning one's gun "that may or may not stipulate that the gun should be EMPTY of ammo" before looking down the barrel, or any other questions which of course cannot be answered without more uncertainty.

Why, for example, were the first news of the death of private Kovco coming with the idea that he had been shot by a lone snipper...? Why was this misinformation concocted out of Baghdad...?

May his family finds the peace they seek and may they grieve in peace, privately, despite the horrible public necessity to know and to be told the facts.


As for personal scruples about privacy, Gus, do a Google News for Kovco, starting with Kovco wasn't cleaning gun: Nelson, and tell me whether the other 286 headlines do not speak of shameless, group-think mentality on part of mainstream media. All designed to bolster the government's commitment to Iraq occupation for the benefit of Exxon, manipulated by ministerial minders, with the centrepiece being Nelson and/or Howard at a very public memorial (if not the funeral). 

It's a pity for the family that his casket got mixed up with the multitudes being repatriated back to Alabama. I hope one of the US media commentators/newsbloggers gets on to this pathetic episode, and exposes it for the concoction it is. I don't expect the ABC, even, to go near it, after hearing Barrie Cassidy whitewash Nelson on Jon Faine's show just now. Nelson is up to his ears in it, but couldn't foresee a problem occurring in transit. He'll probably get away with it, by quietly destroying a gormless Y-gen staffer.  


Fog machine on the stage o' war

I totally agree T.G.... We're in for the fog machine on stage once more...


A nameless, homeless bum found dead in a lane with head injuries will get a thorough forensic examination, in (all?) Australian cities. That will include basic screen for substances like alcohol and opiates. If a major workplace fatality occurs, the employer will be most keen to get random urine screens on everyone who was in the vicinity. 

Can there by any assurance that soldiers on active service do not mix their own 'medications' with the pills supplied for increased alertness and steady hands?

After all, Brendan, what's a toke or two, between mates?

High as kites?

As mentioned on this site already, the Yankee armies are often given medical strength Amphetamines to sustain alertness during combat duties and sleeping pills while at rest. This has been documented in Kosovo and in Iraq, especially in those who fly the expensive planes or choppers and shoot whatever with a split second decision... Although the practice may have been discontinued in time of "Mission Accomplished" peace, it's hard to know if substance abuse is still common... Beer, wine and spirits would still be part of the diet... as far as the Aussie armies are concerned, the official line is that they do not indulge in the hard stuff... Who knows...

Who Shot Private Kovco?

What a quandary!  If you say that he suicided then you have a conflict with all the "loved his job" spin, not to mention admission of a serious morale problem within our troops in Iraq.  Then you have to find out what caused him to do it, and make the information known to the public.

 Morte seriously, not declaring a suicide leaves the option open that such was not the case.  If it wasn't a misfire, and wasn't a suicide, then logic says that someone else pulled the trigger.  Given that his two bunk-mates claim that they didn't witness the death, then in considering this premise the two most likely options are that either his mates are lying or the trigger was pulled by an intruder quietl perpetrate the act without drawing attention to himself.  Personally I think it more like for Kovco to have been assasinated than be murdered, accidentally or otherwise, by his mates.

Will we see a ballistics report that proves that the bullet came from Kovco's gun?

As for the Pandora's boxes lying behind the possibilty that the body's misplacement was more than a mishap.... I'm not going there.

Kovco's Cousin Prays

Apparently written by a cousin of Kovco, this is the saddest and most poignant posting so far:



To the Kovco family- DON'T GIVE UP!  There is a truth behind all of this and it will be found

Leaks in Adelaide?

The Advertiser has a had a couple of firsts, like Soldier 'alone' when fatal shot was fired:
... The startling revelations, which completely contradict information released by the military and the government, have been revealed to The Advertiser by soldiers angry about what they regard as a disgraceful cover-up by authorities. ...

What's going on in Adelaide? Are there remnants of leadership pretensions, still threatening Sydney? One thing's for sure, the Sydney push is safe from it.

Maybe it's just an internal feud in Anglicanism.


The appointment of a former Queensland police commissioner will guarantee the correct result is obtained. 

Nelson announces inquiry 

In safe hands.

Another Kovco Cover-Up

This is amazing!  Now it turns out that the Australian commander countermanded orders and had the body removed from the place of death before an investigation.

Military Police had ordered that Kovco's body not be touched until an assesment of the situation was made.  Brigadier Symons instructed that the body  be shifted, despite reported concerns of investigators that such an action would compromise evidence.

Now the Australian coronial inquest, having confirmed the nature of the death, has to attempt to determine the circumstances without this important information.

In spite of the bruising I've taken this weekend (only name-calling, after all) I still have to say that this situation appears rotten to the core.
Kovco dies and his body is moved fron inquiring eyes.  It's then put on a plane and lost.  Then the "official" version of the story, released by the Defence Minister is changed.  It doesn't look good, and until these confusions are clarified I think we have a right to remain suspicious.

Keep steady

Don't let the detractor affect you Richard.
The fact is that the coroner found that private Kovso died from a shot to the head...
and that's all the government wants to know... any thing beyond that would destroy their construct of Lovco as a hero... So the fudge will be cooking for a while until the media and most people have gone to other pastures... Then we will have the inquiry into the inquiry telling us that the inquiry was inconclusive and that's that... The earth will still spin on its axis... More people will die in iraq and we'll have our honoured dead in that war... His name will be carved in the honor rolls and that's the way it should be... Er... Why ask real questions that could disturb the legend? Cover up? sure... but the bother of fighting an army determined not tell the truth is a monumental task.
Let's keep fighting for the truth!

Kovco Bullet Missing !

At the start of the concurrent Webdiary thread I asked if we'd see a ballistics report that proved that the bullet came from Kovco's gun.

 This is not going to happen.  According to today's Daily Telegraph the Department Of Defence gave the coroner the gun that shot Kovco, but not the bullet.  It is believed to be missing.

The Telegraph also reports the coroner as findingno scorchmarks to the head, indicating that the weapon was further than arm's lenght and thus eliminating the suicide theory

Now we have no on-site investigation, no bullet, no suicide, no witnesses, a mislaid body and a misleading story.  I can't believe that this is happening !


You can't have a war without a hero

Richard Tonkin says: "The level of pageantry already spinning into the media to emphasis(e) the accidental nature of Private Kovco's death . . ." There are many investigations into Private Kovoco's death. These investigations have not come up with a desired result that it was indeed an accidental death. If it was factual as an accidental death there would be no investigation or investigations. Could it be said that "The level of pageantry already spinning into the media is to emphasise the unknown nature to the public of Private Kovco's death . . ."

"our" Hero had been cautioned

From the ABC

Inquiry told Kovco cautioned for misusing pistol
The inquiry into the death of Private Jake Kovco was told today that he had been reprimanded twice for misusing his pistol during his deployment in Iraq.

In a statement tendered to the inquiry a Lance Corporal said that he had told off Private Kovco for pointing his pistol at the torso of another soldier.

The Lance Corporal was also aware that Private Kovco had been cautioned for mishandling his weapon on another occasion.

Private Kovco died after a shot to the head from his own pistol in his Baghdad barracks in April.


That tooth fairy again


Sorry, I just don't buy it at this late stage. Even if Kovco HAD been cautioned, it doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion that he shot himself. Too much fooling around with the evidence for this to be a clear cut case of accidentally shooting himself, and we already know he wasn't suicidal.

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. ~~ Marian Wright Edelman


Not implying anything, just that the kid may have been a bit gun-ho and that "foul play" as a prank may have been coming his way in return and... who knows...

But something is not right... including having been turned into a "hero" for dying in suspicious circumstances and having a few weapons cautions...

stuff up


One has to wonder: if there had been no stuff up with the body, would any of this even be an issue? 

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. ~~ Marian Wright Edelman

Deliberate stuff up?

Considering an army that prides itself on discipline, exactitude, drills, precision, focus, etc... one has to ask very pointed questions as to why evidences of an accident, a suicide or a crime were wiped out so meticulously...

Yes, pass the Mr Fudge liquid cleaner bottle...

Obviously, either the "cleaners" did not watch CSI and buggered the "scene" with good intention — which does not make sense in an organisation that demands reports on anything that moves — or they did watch CSI and made sure there was not a trace of evidence left.

Either way we'll never know unless ...

All's well in Tamperwithevidence Land

From the ABC

Soldier 'amazed' Kovco's body removed from scene
A military police investigator flown from Melbourne to Baghdad to assist with the investigation into Private Jake Kovco's death says he was amazed the body was removed from the scene within 24 hours.

Pte Kovco died at his barracks in Iraq in April; he was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head.

The military policeman, identified as Soldier 47, told the inquiry into Pte Kovco's death he was informed on the day of Pte Kovco's death, to deploy immediately to Baghdad.

Soldier 47 says, prior to leaving, he instructed authorities in Baghdad not to move the body.

The military policeman says when he arrived in Kuwait the next day he was surprised and annoyed to learn the body was also in Kuwait.

Soldier 47 said he was also informed clothing worn by the deceased had been destroyed and clothing worn by witnesses removed and washed.

The inquiry continues.
reas more at the ABC